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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Please Explain The Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer

Luke 11:1 (NIV) One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
The Lord's Example Prayer
• In this study we discuss insights into the prayer outline (in ALL CAPs) Jesus gives us. Rather than racing through this by rote, let us meditate on each element so that we might pray with understanding (1 Cor 14:15). As Larry Lea put it, the idea is to pray through the Lord's prayer "r-e-a-l s-l-o-w". To begin, spend five or ten minutes on each phrase, letting each steep and soak in. Let the Holy Spirit reveal other Scriptures (beyond these listed here to get you started) that apply to each phrase, and meditate on the meaning and application in your life each day.
Gal 4:6 (NIV) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out "Abba, Father".
1 Pet 1:23 (NIV) For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Heb 12:5-7 (NKJ) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
1 Pet 1:17 (NIV) Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
1 Jn 2:29-3:3 (Phi) You all know that God is really good. You may be just as sure that the man who leads a really good life is a true child of God. Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called "children of God"--and that is not just what we are called, but what we ARE... This explains why the world will no more recognize us than it recognized Christ... Here, and now, my dear friends, we ARE God's children. We don't know what we shall become in the future. We only know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is! Everyone who has at heart a hope like this keeps himself pure, as Christ is pure.
Eph 3:14 (NIV) For this reason I kneel before the Father...
• Many find it useful to meditate on God's nature as revealed in adjectives associated with His name in Hebrew.
SHALOM Peace/Rest/Contentment Is 53:5, Hb 4:9-10, Jn 14:27, Plp 4:7, Cl 1:20-22

ZIDKENU Righteousness/Perfection 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Cor 1:30, Rom 1:17

M'KADDESH Sanctifies/Purifies 1 Cor 6:9-11, 1 Thes 5:23, Rom 8:29

SHEMA Is There Ex 3:13-15, Ez 48:35b, Ep 2:21-22, Hb 13:5b

ROPHE Heals 1 Pet 2:24, Rom 8:2, Gal 3:13, Col 2:13-14

YIRA Who Sees/Provides 2 Chr 16:9a, Gen 22:14, Ps 34:15-18

NISSI Banner/Captain Ex 17:15, Jn 12:32, Is 11:10, 2Co 2:14a, So 2:4

ROHI Shepherd/Companion/Friend Prov 18:24b, Ps 23, 1 Pet 2:25

YESHUA Jesus/Salvation Ex 15:2, Is 12:2, Mt 1:21, Ac 4:12, Pr 30:4

Prov 18:10 (NIV) The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.
Rom 10:13 (NKJ) For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Luke 17:21 (KJV) "...the kingdom of God is within you."
Rom 14:17 (NIV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
John 4:34 (NIV) "My food", said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me..."
Mat 26:39,42 (NIV) "...Yet not as I will, but as you will... May your will be done."
Mark 3:35 (NAS) "For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."
Eph 5:10,17 (NIV) ...find out what pleases the Lord... understand what the Lord's will is.
Mat 16:19 (Phi) "...whatever you forbid on earth will be what is forbidden in Heaven and whatever you permit on earth will be what is permitted in Heaven!"
• C.S. Lewis: "Thy will be done, by me now!"
Prov 30:8 (NIV) Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty or riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Ex 16:14-20 (NIV) When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is it?" ["Manna", in Hebrew] For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: 'Each one is to gather as much as he needs...' No-one is to keep any of it until morning." However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.
John 6:32-35 (NAS) Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." They said therefore to Him, "Lord, evermore give us this bread." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."
Phil 4:6-7 (Phi) Don't worry about anything whatever; whenever you pray tell God every detail of your needs in thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which surpasses human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.
Luke 11:4 (NAS) And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
Luke 11:4 (Phi) And forgive us our failures, for we forgive everyone who fails us.
Mark 11:25 (NAS) "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.
Mat 6:14-15 (NIV) "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
Eph 4:32 (NAS) Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Col 3:13 (NKJ) ...bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Luke 22:40 (NIV) ..."Pray so that you will not fall into temptation."
Eph 6:11-17 (NIV) Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes... Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
2 Thes 3:3 (NIV) But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
2 Tim 4:18 (NAS) The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Chr 29:11 (NIV) "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all."
1 Cor 4:20 (NIV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
Eph 6:10 (NIV) Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ps 145:10-13 (NIV) All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations...
Isa 42:8 (NAS) I am the Lord, that is My name! I will not give My glory to another...
Jude 1:20 (NIV) But you, dear friends, build yourself up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Eph 6:18 (Jer) Pray all the time, asking for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all the saints.
Rom 8:26-27 (Phi) The Spirit... also helps us in our present limitations. For example, we do not know how to pray worthily, but his Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonizing longings which cannot find words. He who knows the heart's secrets understands the Spirit's intention as he prays according to God's will for those who love him.
Acts 2:42 (NIV) They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 6:4 (KJV) But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
1 Thes 5:17,19 (Phi) Never stop praying... Never damp the fire of the Spirit.
Deut 4:7 (NIV) ...The Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Is The Apocrypha "Scripture"?

The Apocrypha consists of a set of books written between approximately 400 B.C. and the time of Christ. The word "apocrypha" (απόκρυφα) means "Hidden." These books consist of 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the Rest of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, (also titled Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, The Additions to Daniel, The Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

The Protestant Church rejects the apocrypha as being inspired, as do the Jews, but in 1546 the Roman Catholic Church officially declared some of the apocryphal books to belong to the canon of scripture. These are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees Wisdom of Solomon Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch. The apocryphal books are written in Greek, not Hebrew (except for Ecclesiasticus, 1 Maccabees, a part of Judith, and Tobit), and contain some useful historical information.

Is the Apocrypha Scripture? Protestants deny its inspiration but the Roman Catholic Church affirms it. In order to ascertain whether it is or isn't, we need to look within its pages.

Not quoted in the New Testament
First of all, neither Jesus nor the apostles ever quoted from the Apocrypha. There are over 260 quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and not one of them is from these books. Nevertheless, a Roman Catholic might respond by saying that there are several Old Testament books that are not quoted in the New Testament, i.e., Joshua, Judges, Esther, etc. Does this mean that they aren't inspired either? But, these books had already been accepted into the canon by the Jews, where the Apocrypha had not. The Jews recognized the Old Testament canon and they did not include the Apocrypha in it. This is significant because of what Paul says:

"Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God," (Rom. 3:1-2).
Paul tells us that the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. This means that they are the ones who understood what inspired Scriptures were and they never accepted the Apocrypha.

Jesus' references the Old Testament: from Abel to Zechariah
Jesus referenced the Jewish Old Testament canon from the beginning to the end and did not include the Apocrypha in his reference. "From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation,’" (Luke 11:51).

"The traditional Jewish canon was divided into three sections (Law, Prophets, Writings), and an unusual feature of the last section was the listing of Chronicles out of historical order, placing it after Ezra-Nehemiah and making it the last book of the canon. In light of this, the words of Jesus in Luke 11:50-51 reflect the settled character of the Jewish canon (with its peculiar order) already in his day. Christ uses the expression "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah," which appears troublesome since Zechariah was not chronologically the last martyr mentioned in the Bible (cf. Jer. 26:20-23). However, Zechariah is the last martyr of which we read in the Old Testament according to Jewish canonical order (cf. II Chron. 24:20-22), which was apparently recognized by Jesus and his hearers."1
This means that the same Old Testament canon, according to the Jewish tradition, is arranged differently than how we have it in the Protestant Bible today. This was the arrangement to which Jesus was referring when he referenced Abel and Zechariah, the first and last people to have their blood shed -- as listed in the Old Testament Jewish canon. Obviously, Jesus knew of the Apocrypha and was not including it in his reference.

Jesus references the Old Testament: The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms
Catholics sometimes respond by saying that the Old Testament is referred to in three parts: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. It is these writings that are sometimes said to include the Apocrypha. But this designation is not found in the Bible. On the contrary, Jesus referenced the Old Testament and designated its three parts as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, not as the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.

"Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled," (Luke 24:44).
So we see that the designation offered by the Roman Catholics is not the same designation found in the Bible and their argument is invalid as their argument is incorrect. Nevertheless, even if it did say "writings" it would not include the Apocrypha for the above-mentioned reasons.

Church Fathers
Did the Church fathers recognized the Apocrypha as being Scripture? Roman Catholics strongly appeal to Church history but we don't find a unanimous consensus on the Apocrypha. Jerome (340-420) who translated the Latin Vulgate which is used by the RC church, rejected the Apocrypha since he believed that the Jews recognized and established the proper canon of the Old Testament. Remember, the Christian Church built upon that recognition. Also, Josephus the famous Jewish historian of the First Century never mentioned the Apocrypha as being part of the canon either. In addition, "Early church fathers like Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and the great Roman Catholic translator Jerome spoke out against the Apocrypha."2 So, we should not conclude that the Church fathers unanimously affirmed the Apocrypha. They didn't.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why Did Judas Do It?

How Should the church Approach Homosexuality?

The Bible, as God's word, reveals God's moral character and it shapes the morality of the Christian. The Bible has much to say about homosexuality:

Lev. 18:22 , "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."
Lev. 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them."
1 Cor. 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,1 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
Rom. 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."
With such clear statements against homosexuality, it is difficult to see how different groups can say the Bible supports homosexuality. But they try by redefining love, marriage, sex, homosexuality, etc. in order to accomplish their goal. But the truth is that God created man and woman, not man and man, or woman and woman. Nevertheless, the Bible is a powerful book, and because it is the homosexuals often try and make the Bible agree with its agenda. But it doesn't work. The Bible does not support homosexuality, as we have seen from the scriptures above.

Unlike other sins, this sexual sin has a judgment administered by God Himself: He gives them over to their passions (Rom. 1:26-28). This means that their hearts are allowed to be hardened by their sins. As a result, they can no longer see the error of what they are doing. Without an awareness of their sinfulness, there will be no repentance. Without repentance, there will be no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no salvation.

Should homosexuals be allowed to marry one another?
In this politically correct climate that relinquishes morality to the relativistic whims of society, stating that homosexuals should not marry is becoming unpopular. Should a woman be allowed to marry another woman? Should a man be allowed to marry another man? Should they be given legal protection and special rights to practice their homosexuality? No, they should not.

The Bible, of course, condemns homosexuality. It takes no leap of logic to discern that homosexual marriage is also condemned. But our society does not rely on the Bible for its moral truth. Instead, it relies on humanistic and relativistic morals upon which it builds its ethical structure.

Homosexuality is not natural. Just look at the male and female bodies. They are obviously designed to couple. The natural design is apparent. It is not natural to couple male with male and female with female. It would be like trying to fit two screws together or two nuts together and then say, "See, its natural for them to go together."

Homosexuals argue that homosexuality is natural since it occurs in the animal world. But this is problematic. It is true that this behavior occurs in the animal kingdom. But, it is also true that we see animals eating their prey alive and even their own young. We see savagery, cruelty, and extreme brutality. Yet, we do not condone such behavior in our own society. Proponents of the natural order argument should not pick-and-choose the situations that best fit their agendas. They should be consistent and not compare us to animals. We are not animals. We are made in God's image.

Where will it end?
Political protection of a sexual practice is ridiculous. I do not believe it is proper to pass laws stating that homosexuals have 'rights' to have sex with one another and then redefine marriage to include their views. If they can do that, then where will it end? What about pedophilia or bestiality? These are also sexual practices. Should they, too, be protected by law? If homosexuality is protected legally, why not those as well?

What should be the Christian's Response to the Homosexual?
Just because someone is a homosexual does not mean that we cannot love him (or her) or pray for him (her). Homosexuality is a sin and like any other sin, it needs to be dealt with in the only way possible. It needs to be laid at the cross and repented of.

Christians should pray for the salvation of the homosexual the same they would any other person in sin. They should treat homosexuals with the same dignity as they would anyone else because, like or not, they are made in the image of God. However, this does not mean that Christians should approve of their sin. Not at all. Christians should not compromise their witness for a politically correct opinion that is shaped by guilt and fear.

In fact the following verses should be kept in mind when dealing with homosexuals.

"Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person," (Col. 4:5-6).
"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith," (1 Tim. 1:5).
You do not win people to the Lord by condemning them and calling them names. This is why God says to speak with wisdom, grace, and love. Let the love of Christ flow through you so that the homosexuals can see true love and turn to Christ instead of away from Him.